Mayorkas Impeachment Is About ‘Rule of Law,’ Rep. Josh Brecheen Says, as Senate Outcome Uncertain

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
April 10, 2024Politics
Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.) spoke with NTD about the merits of the House impeachment of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the implications if the Senate dismisses or tables the trial, and the Founding Fathers’ intent for impeachment.

Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.) is standing by the impeachment case against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, even as the Democrat-controlled Senate appears poised to quickly dismiss the case.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives impeached Mr. Mayorkas in February on two articles alleging he has engaged in a “willful and systemic refusal to comply with” U.S. immigration law and has breached the public trust by lying about the state of U.S. border security and hindering congressional investigations on the topic.

The first impeachment article focuses on a specific federal law requiring federal immigration authorities to detain inadmissible non-citizens until they can be deported or an immigration court can adjudicate any asylum claims they might have. The impeachment proponents have insisted Mr. Mayorkas has defied this federal law by releasing these inadmissible non-citizens into the country through parole measures rather than detaining them until they are either granted asylum or deported.

“He sends a letter out to all of those under his authority, Mayorkas does, saying ‘disregard that, coming in illegally is no longer enough of a reason for deportation,'” Mr. Brecheen told NTD News. “He’s defying congressional law, you can’t do that. It’s against the rule of law.”

While the Oklahoma Republican is adamant about this impeachment argument, Congressional Democrats have insisted Mr. Mayorkas has done a fair job with the authority he’s been given and argued Republicans have thwarted legislation that would help federal immigration officials more rapidly adjudicate immigration cases.

In remarks to the press on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) cast the Republican impeachment arguments as a disagreement over border and immigration policies and insisted “impeachment should never be used to settle policy disagreements.”

Mr. Brecheen argued, citing Federalist No. 65, that Republicans are using impeachment properly. Federalist 65—written by Alexander Hamilton in 1788 as an argument encouraging the adoption of the U.S. Constitution—states that the impeachment process is “a bridle in the hands of the legislative body to be used upon the executive servants of the government.”

“These founders, they knew what a bridle was four ‘left, right and whoa,’ what does ‘whoa’ mean? Stop, you pull that horse into the ground, and you get a handle back on something that’s runaway. That’s what we have,” he said. “We have a runaway bureaucrat in Mayorkas.”

Will the Senate Try Mayorkas?

While the impeachment passed by the narrowest of margins, 214-213, in the Republican-controlled House, the Republican case faces longer odds in the Senate, where a two-thirds vote is required to convict Mr. Mayorkas and remove him from office. Democrats and independents who caucus with Democrats currently hold 51 Senate seats, meaning even if all Republicans vote to convict Mr. Mayorkas, they would still need to win over support from the other side of the aisle.

The House has yet to send the impeachment articles to the Senate. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) had initially planned to send the articles on April 10 but abruptly delayed those plans on Tuesday. The exact timeline to proceed with the Senate trial remains unclear, but Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) said they’re now expecting the impeachment case to come over next week, on April 15.

Mr. Schumer has said he’s ready to take on the impeachment articles whenever their Republican proponents are, telling reporters on Tuesday that Democrats intend to resolve the matter “as expeditiously as possible.” Some Republicans have raised concerns the Democrats plan to quickly schedule a vote on a motion to dismiss the impeachment charges, effectively ending the impeachment proceedings without holding a Senate trial.

Asked about the odds the impeachment case will be quashed without a trial, Mr. Brecheen stood by the impeachment effort.

“The proper course is for the House to impeach, the Senate has to answer for the Senate,” the Oklahoma Republican said.

Mr. Brecheen said Senators will ultimately have to answer to the voting public, and those who “choose to thumb their nose at the rule of law” may get a failing “report card” from their constituents.

The Republican congressman indicated the decision to delay sending the impeachment articles to the Senate was strategic.

“It’s my understanding, there were some who said that the delay was important to them. And so I’ll just yield to the wisdom of the senators who know their process,” he said.

It remains to be seen if the delay will improve Republican odds of advancing their impeachment case.

Thus far, no Democrats seem amenable to the impeachment arguments. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)—who ProPublica ranks as the Democrat senator who has most often voted against the rest of his party in this session of Congress—has called the impeachment case against Mr. Mayorkas “crazy and stupid.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has also positioned himself against the impeachment case brought by his fellow Republicans in remarks to the press on Tuesday. Like Mr. Schumer, he likened the impeachment case to a policy disagreement.

“It’s the wrong policy; it has a hugely damaging effect on the country—but it’s not a high crime or misdemeanor,” the Utah senator said of Mr. Mayorkas’ handling of border security issues.

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